Another interesting article from TechDirt…
Singapore Fines The WSJ For Editorials It Considered Contempt Of Court: “The Wall Street Journal is running a story about how it’s been fined by Singaporean courts for two editorials the paper published over the summer. The story notes how nearly every foreign publication distributed in Singapore has been sued in court at one point or another, and the article goes through detailing the specific charges against it by Singapore. Obviously, the WSJ’s story can be seen as biased since they were a party in the lawsuit, but from the description, it sounds like Singapore was upset that the WSJ accurately reported on a defamation lawsuit by a former government official against an opposition party candidate, and later a critical study by the International Bar Association on the rule of law in Singapore. It’s difficult to see how those reports can be said to be ‘contemptuous of the judiciary,’ but in a country that isn’t known for taking criticism well, perhaps it’s not that surprising.
Still, what’s most interesting is that in response to this, the Wall Street Journal has chosen not to publish this particular story about the decision in the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal — though, the story is obviously available online. Apparently the WSJ recognizes, probably accurately, that if they published the story about the decision, where they are somewhat critical of that decision, they would probably be in for yet another ‘contempt’ charge. To some extent, this decision makes you wonder how effective suppression of the press can be going forward. Yes, countries can build filters and block out certain publications, but online content can always be filtered through eventually. The very fact that the WSJ is purposely leaving the editorial out of Asian editions of the paper seems more likely to draw more attention to the story from within Singapore as well, accomplishing exactly the opposite of what the country thinks it’s doing in fining the paper.